You know what’s interesting? Both guys Amir Sadollah beat to win “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 (Matt Brown in the quarterfinals, CB Dollaway in the semi-finals and finals) have had better MMA careers than he has. The most famous of the bunch that competed on that season may be Mike Dolce, who’s now retired and has become the weight cutting guru to the stars of the sport. It goes to show that while TUF may not be the champion builder it once was … you can find plenty of depth on the UFC roster in the first ten seasons of guys or so.
Now Brown is eyeing his 7th win in a row and a potential outside peak into the title picture of a division in turmoil. He’s matched up with a fighter who’s a little too old to be a prospect in name but needs to shed the label soon in Erick Silva.
Fight breakdown – If you can’t get excited for this fight then either you hate MMA or you’re dead … this is near guaranteed fireworks and is about as excellent as you can get for a five round main event based on the excitement factor of both guys. Neither guy is dull, for starters, with the potential for a five round war of epic proportions going off the chart because of how both guys fight.
Brown’s the “technical brawler” who’s always looking to finish things on his feet. His big vulnerability has always been on the crowd, where he’s gotten better BUT he has benefited from a schedule bereft of elite level wrestlers. He has good enough grappling chops to keep out of trouble with good level guys … but not elite. His strength is on his feet where he can push a hard pace.
Against Silva, who has first rate chops on the ground, look for Brown to keep it standing. Silva’s explosiveness is going to be key here; Silva tends to start fast out the gate and he hasn’t gone to decision in victory in the UFC. All his wins in the UFC have come in the first round, with three of the four in under 90 seconds. He comes out fast and can catch someone early.
Silva’s gameplan is to push the pace, get the fight to the ground and go for the strangle early and often. Brown’s grappling is solid but Silva has tapped guys better than him on the mat. He also needs to end it sooner; his cardio is an issue and could potentially derail his shot at ever becoming elite. Brown needs to exploit this and fight Silva like he did Jordan Mein. He needs to punish him with strikes, make him move and wear him down. Silva has one shot KO power and he needs to make Silva work to get in close.
Silva’s finishing power is something he usually explodes into, athletically, and Brown needs to keep him from being able to exploit that one mistake Silva capitalizes on. Look for Brown to work the clinch game and use the cage as a weapon; Brown’s tactics will include a bunch of dirty boxing against the cage, most likely, before he tries to switch to a more Muay Thai based style with knees.
Why it matters – Brown’s on a heck of a win streak right now and a seventh win could earn him a title shot depending on circumstances. Brown getting the first crack at Johny Hendricks would be something special. Brown’s kind of a hillbilly, as is Hendricks, and a fight in the south between the two could be fun. If he wins here, and destroys Silva in spectacular fashion, he could find himself in pole position. Just remember … Glover Teixiera didn’t beat a Top 10 opponent to get his title shot at Jon Jones. He did finish a ton of dudes in awesome fashion, though, and Brown can find himself in a similar spot with a win here. Seven wins in a row is impressive and while he may not have the resume to justify it … that’s never stopped the UFC before.
Silva is in a predicament. He’s about to hit 30 and you can’t call him a prospect anymore. He’s at the point where he needs to do something to fulfill that “potential” he’s shown he has. Right now he appears to be Portuguese for “Joe Lauzon,” not a slight by the way, as he’s an absolute killer early who’s been known to fade. If there’s a time to turn that corner and become an elite welterweight it has to start tonight.
Prediction – Brown
Tags: Erick Silva, Matt Brown, Mixed Martial Arts, UFC Fight Night 40